NZ guest nights hits record in January as visitors flock to hotels and holiday parks
By Rebecca Howard
March 12 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand guest nights hit a record in January, rising 1.4 percent on the year with hotels and holiday parks in high demand.
Total guest nights increased to 4.97 million in January from 4.9 million a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Of that, international guest nights rose 3.1 percent to 2.2 million, outpacing a 0.2 percent gain in domestic accommodation stays to 2.9 million.
Stats NZ said January is typically the height of the peak season for many accommodation operators and usually the time when records are set.
"International guest nights also reached their highest-ever level in January, even as international visitor arrivals dipped slightly in the month,” accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said. “This may be because some people who arrived in 2017 stayed on in January.”
New Zealand has been enjoying a booming tourism sector in recent years as low airfares made it easier for visitors to travel to the remote South Pacific destination and the weakening kiwi dollar has added to the nation's allure.
North Island stays rose 0.9 percent to 2.9 million and South Island guest nights gained 2.1 percent to 2.1 million. On the South Island, international guest nights lifted 2.9 percent to 1.1 million while domestic guest nights were up 1.2 percent to 998,000. On the North Island, international guest nights lifted 3.2 percent to 1 million while domestic guest nights were down 0.3 percent to 1.85 million.
Nine of 12 regions reported an increase in guest nights. The largest increases were in Canterbury, where guest nights lifted 11 percent on the year to 661,000 and Southland, where they rose 6 percent to 155,000. The largest decline was in Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman where numbers fell 7.4 percent to 379,000.
The occupancy rate across accommodation types lifted to 58.7 percent in January versus 57.2 percent a year earlier.
The figures show hotel guest nights rose 6 percent to 1.39 million in January from a year earlier, with international stays up 4.9 percent to 736,000 and domestic stays up 7.2 percent to 652,000.
Hotel occupancy was 74.4 percent in the month, compared to 72.2 percent a year earlier.
Motel stays fell 3.4 percent with a 0.6 percent gain from international visitors to 519,000 offsetting a 5.9 percent decline in domestic guest nights to 803,000. Motel occupancy was 69.6 percent versus 70.3 percent a year earlier.
Backpacker guest nights fell 2.3 percent to 580,000 with an occupancy rate of 57.3 percent versus 57.6 percent a year earlier, while holiday park stays lifted 3.2 percent to 1.68 million at an occupancy rate of 43.2 percent, up from 40.5 percent.